A career in purchasing begins with an education, and online programs exist for those looking for an alternative to classroom instruction. Take a look at some considerations for prospective students, as well as degree and schooling options.
How to Select an Online Purchasing Agent School
Online degree programs are available in business, marketing and accounting to students seeking a position as a purchasing agent. Primarily, however, entry-level training is provided through bachelor's and master's degree programs in business administration, as well as certificate programs in purchasing management.
Program Availability and Type
Several degrees can serve as primary education for purchasing agents. Degrees at both the bachelor's and master's level that have a focus in business, marketing and accounting are all viable for those who wish to begin a career as a purchasing agent. The only commonly available online program specifically for purchasing agents is a certificate program designed primarily professional development. This program can be used to hone skills in current purchasing agents. Bachelor's and master's degree programs are better suited to those who are preparing to enter the purchasing industry.
Program Flexibility and Purpose
Most online programs for purchasing agents are designed for flexibility, allowing students to take either a part-time or full-time program. Normally, institutions will have an allowable time range for degree completion. In the case of master's degrees, such as a master of business administration, this is often between two and five years.
Online Degree Options for Purchasing Agents
Online Certificate in Purchasing Management
Often, a purchasing management certificate requires students to complete a series of subject-specific requirements, as well as elective requirements. Purchasing management programs are generally asynchronous, requiring students to submit assignments and tests over the Internet. Interaction with other students is completed through online discussion forums or message boards. Coursework includes:
- Cost to price analysis
- Budgeting essentials
- Supplier contracting
- Supply chain management
Online Bachelor of Business Administration
Prospective purchasing agents and other business professionals can complete online bachelor's degree programs in business administration. Bachelor's degree programs are more likely than other online programs to require students to attend real-time classes and follow a strict assignment and test schedule. Online learners complete courses in:
- Business and society
- Marketing principles
- Managing organizational behavior
- Strategic management
Online Master of Business Administration
An online master of business administration degree is often a general degree program designed to serve those who will go into any number of business-related disciplines. Many MBA degree programs offer tracks that recommended for purchasing agents. A Master of Business Administration is the minimum degree needed for purchasing agents advancing into purchasing manager positions. Normally, online MBA programs are designed for working adults and so allow students as much flexibility as possible. Students take courses in:
- Corporate entrepreneurship
- Financial management
- Market power pricing
- Strategic marketing management
Schools with Online Programs in Purchasing
California State University's Dominguez Hills location offers a Certificate in Purchasing, focusing on Purchasing Education and Training. The program is tailored to those looking to change careers, as well as people already in the field who are looking to further their education. The program consists of five courses, and certificates are awarded after the completion of all five classes.
The University of Illinois at Springfield contains an online Bachelor of Business Administration Degree, with two available concentrations: a comprehensive option, and a concentration in management. The two paths differ in their requirements for elective options and major coursework involved in the pursuit of the BBA.
The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University is home to an online Master of Business Administration program. Topics covered throughout the Master's program include business law and ethics, operations, finance, and marketing. The online degree makes it easy to pair with dual programs, so you can earn a second Master's degree in areas such as Strategic Management, Business Analytics, or Global Supply Chain Management. IU also offers study abroad programs in locations like Beijing, New Delhi, and Sao Paolo.
Along with certificates, online programs in purchasing are available at the bachelor's and master's degree levels, often found through business administration programs.